Publishers can benefit immensely with the proper use of social media. Here, Sesh Seshadri of Overleaf Books LLP shares his views on use of social media by publishers. Why pubishers should embrace social media?

Sesh Seshadri, Overleaf Books LLPLet us face the reality that social media is gaining to be dominant within the publishing industry. The reason why I’m writing this article is to impress upon the areas publishers should focus all their efforts, else we will be left behind. Each social network needs to distinguish itself among competitors since there are many similarities in offerings. Publishers can achieve huge numbers of engagements with very little effort. Over time publishers will demand better measurement tools. Social media is a crowded space and we can illustrate this by a few examples. Twitter has Moments & Periscope, Facebook has Collections, Snap chat has Stories and Instagram has its own version.

Social media has evolved and the publishing industry is catching up in its ways of publishing/delivering content. The key factor is the continuous innovation in digital technology and rapid increase in the smart phone users estimated at 300+ million in India.

The main usage of social media within publishing is towards marketing strategies, promoting the author and their books via effective marketing communication. High profile and high spend book launches’ have been replaced by using social media viz., launch via Facebook live.

There’s a large diaspora of readers waiting to be engaged. So far, leading book publishers in India like Penguin, HarperCollins and Westland are amongst a few who have effectively managed to leverage this platform through their innovative ideas and creative content to engage with the readers, informing them about their upcoming books and building brand affinity.

The means of initiating conversations with the readers have also improved with interesting introductions like Facebook Live, 360, Canvas, Carousel, Insta stories, Boomerang and the ongoing trend of video content which establishes an immediate connect with the social media audience.

What can publishers expect from social media marketing and how do we measure them?

It’s imperative to set the expectations right from your social media channels despite the presence of large number of people holding accounts on social media platforms. Though their purpose of being present is to spend leisure time, organizations can drive engaging conversations around books and authors, eventually generating the revenue. Idea is not to look for direct sales as making purchases through social media is neither your reader’s purpose nor should be your expectation.

But the key question is, “How to measure success on social media?” The success can be measured by studying three key parameters:

  • What is your community size?
  • What is your social media page reach?
  • How is the engagement on your social media page?

How to create a fool proof social media marketing strategy?

The approach to advertising has changed and in the digital world, advertising is approached by asking the following questions:

  • Who’s your audience (demographics/age/location/interests/behavior)?
  • What’s the objective (create awareness/generate sales/increase community size/promote an offer)?
  • Where are you promoting it (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn/Any other)?
  • When is the best time to talk about it? (morning/afternoon/evening/night)?
  • Why are we promoting it on social media? (key-metrics)?
  • How do you wish to promote it? (creative concept/ idea)?

After having the answers to the above questions, it is important to be on top of the new social media marketing trends, types & formats to incorporate them into organizational plans.

How can authors support publishers on social media?

Authors can support publishers in their marketing initiatives through cross-platform promotion across their social media channels leveraging upon their fan/follower network.

Using some basic tools and tactics to amplify the reach as well as the impact e.g. promoting a campaign/ contest by going live on Facebook, tagging the publisher’s social media handle in their tweets and using the designated campaign hashtags for communication are some of the small tricks of the trade that can support the publishers in promoting their books. Social media platforms are unlikely to fade any time soon, so publishers should ensure they’re visible. Publishers should not rely on one platform but should focus on diversification.

Let us be social when it comes to publishing content in any form.


How to reach out to your audience?

The first step is to learn more about your audience before reaching out to them. So, platforms like Facebook help you understand your audience better through its insights, providing information such as your audiences’ demographics, age, location, interests and behavior. This can be further co-related with revenue to finally help understand the right set of audience who will eventually make the purchase.

Social Media platforms provide varied targeting options e.g. Facebook allows you to upload the customer database and run an ad specifically for them. It also helps you to reach out to potential customers who have not completed the online purchase. A good example is Instagram through which reaching an audience over 700 million is possible.



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